Singapore — The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced on Tuesday (Jul 27) that two Indian nationals were imprisoned for submitting false qualifications in their work pass applications.
Bailwal Sunil Dutt and Sutradhar Bijoy were given one and four weeks jail, respectively.
MOM noted that their work passes had been revoked, and they were permanently barred from working in Singapore.
They were employed as a cook and an assistant warehouse manager in Singapore.
MOM has charged another work pass holder, also an Indian national, Bhandare Raghavendra, for the same offence. He is scheduled to appear in court on Aug 5.
Beginning Feb 2021, MOM has been investigating the case of 23 foreigners who declared qualifications from Manav Bharti University (MBU) in their work pass applications.
Among the remaining individuals, one is under further investigation, while 19 will be permanently barred from future employment in Singapore, said MOM.
MBU is an accredited institution established by the Indian government in 2009. MOM was notified that the foreign government was investigating the institution for selling fake degrees.
“It is difficult to detect institutions such as MBU, which are approved by the foreign government’s authorities and issuing genuine degrees while selling fakes,” said a spokesman for MOM regarding checks on qualifications.
“Nevertheless, MOM regularly reviews and strengthens measures to maintain the integrity of our work pass framework.”
It was reported that Dutt had applied for an S Pass in Dec 2020 to work in Al Capone as a cook. He noted in his application that he had a bachelor’s degree in arts from MBU.
Bijoy applied for an S Pass in 2015 and made a similar declaration to be employed by Lye M S Trading as an assistant warehouse manager.
A staff member in MBU told Dutt that he could acquire a degree qualification from MBU for a fee without having to attend classes.
Dutt had paid the staff 3,000 rupees (about S$55) every six months between 2011 and 2013.
Sometime in 2013, Dutt obtained a degree certificate with various academic transcripts attached.
Bijoy obtained his forged MBU degree certificate in 2014 through an agent for 40,000 rupees (about S$730). He was told that a degree was essential in landing a job with a higher salary in Singapore.
In 2020, Bijoy made the false declaration again on the renewal application for his job.
It was reported that Bijoy had received monthly salaries between S$2,600 and S$3,000 as an assistant warehouse manager.
Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, false declarations of any sort are considered an offence with a fine of up to S$20,000, imprisonment of up to two years, or both.
Offenders will also have their work passes revoked, and they will be permanently barred from employment in Singapore.
In the last five years, an average of 660 foreigners per year has been detected by MOM for submitting fake education qualifications in their work pass applications. An average of eight foreigners per year has been prosecuted for their offences. /TISG
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